Observation and Objectivity
Observation and Objectivity

Observation and Objectivity

Lead Author(s): Saylor Academy

Source: Saylor

Student Price: FREE

A question pack on the philosophy of science by Saylor academy.

This content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

CC BY 3.0 - Saylor

Content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License .

Saylor Academy and Saylor.org® are trade names of the Constitution Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization through which our educational activities are conducted.

Course Designer: n/a

Observation and Objectivity Q1

According to scientist Mike Adler, which of the following is a reason that scientists neglect the study of ethics?

A

We lack methods for deriving observable consequences from ethical propositions.

B

The study of ethics is properly a matter for religion rather than science.

C

The study of ethics is not important.

D

There is insufficient motivation, such as research grants, for the study of ethics.

Observation and Objectivity Q2

As one of the reasons scientists deny that reason alone can lead to truth about the world, Newton’s Laser Sword (according to physicist Mike Adler) is the principle that

A

we should not dispute propositions using reason.

B

we should not dispute propositions unless they can be shown by precise logic and/or mathematics to have observable consequences.

C

we should not trust a method that, throughout history, has repeatedly shown itself to be unreliable.

D

we should always accept the simplest propositions.

Observation and Objectivity Q3

Philosophy of science is NORMATIVE because it aims to determine whether the methods scientists use, and the conclusions they draw using those methods, are

A

correct.

B

justified.

C

ethical.

D

efficient.

Observation and Objectivity Q4

Which of the following questions is appropriate to the philosophy of science?

A

How do scientists interact as social groups to resolve differences of opinion?

B

What thought processes do scientists follow when judging the merits of competing opinions?

C

How have scientists’ interactions and styles of reasoning changed over the centuries?

D

What methods do scientists use to acquire knowledge?

Observation and Objectivity Q5

Which of the following questions is appropriate to the philosophy of science?

A

How do scientists engage in research?

B

How do scientists come up with new theories or experimental procedures?

C

How have particular theories or experimental procedures come to be accepted by individual scientists and the scientific community as a whole?

D

How should we interpret the pronouncements scientists make about their research findings?

Observation and Objectivity Q6

Which of the following questions is NOT appropriate to the philosophy of science?

A

What is the nature of confirmation?

B

What is the nature of explanation?

C

What is the nature of gravity?

D

What is the nature of induction?

Observation and Objectivity Q7

Norwood Russell Hanson maintains that interpreting marks on a page is NOT distinct from seeing marks on a page, because

A

we sometimes see the same marks in different ways.

B

we sometimes make the same observations but use those observations in different ways.

C

people with different training see the same marks in different ways.

D

it is unnatural to say that one is halfway through interpreting marks on a page.

Observation and Objectivity Q8

The theory-ladenness of observation seems to undermine the objectivity of theory choice because

A

observations that are not neutral with respect to competing theories cannot objectively guide a choice between those theories.

B

scientists with competing theories inhabit different worlds.

C

theory-ladenness allows scientists to observe whatever evidence is needed to confirm their own theories and refute rival theories.

D

whether a theory-laden observation confirms or disconfirms a theory depends entirely upon whether scientists agree that the observation does so.

Observation and Objectivity Q9

The thesis that observation is theory-laden states that

A

observational evidence is biased toward some theories over others.

B

observers can observe anything they want to observe by adopting different theories.

C

the world of experience is a product of mental activity.

D

observers sometimes observe what they want to observe.

Observation and Objectivity Q10

What do philosophers typically mean when they claim that scientific knowledge is objective?

A

Statements accepted as scientific knowledge are accepted on the basis of observations that are not theory-laden.

B

Statements accepted as scientific knowledge are accepted on the basis of widespread intersubjective consensus among scientists.

C

Statements accepted as scientific knowledge are true independently of whether people believe them to be true.

D

Statements accepted as scientific knowledge are accepted on the basis of independent and impartial criteria.

Observation and Objectivity Q11

Which of the following claims, if true, would suffice to show that the theory-ladenness of observation is INCOMPATIBLE with the objectivity of scientific knowledge?

A

Novel phenomena can be recognized even when they are not predicted or anticipated by accepted theories.

B

An observation that is theory-laden with respect to one set of theories need not be theory-laden with respect to all theories.

C

There is no theory-neutral language in which scientists can state observation sentences.

D

Scientists who accept different theories literally observe different worlds.

Observation and Objectivity Q12

Which of the following episodes from the history of science is NOT evidence that observation is theory-laden?

A

After Galileo drew Saturn as a large planet with a moon on each side, for the next 50 years those who drew pictures of their telescopic observations of Saturn typically drew Saturn with moons coming out of the poles.

B

After Blondlot published a paper claiming to have discovered N-rays, over 300 papers by 100 different scientists were published on the properties of N-rays.

C

During a routine investigation of cathode rays, Roentgen noticed that a barium platino-cyanide screen at some distance from his shielded apparatus glowed when the discharge of cathode rays was in progress.

D

After examining several photographs of Pluto and noticing similar fuzzy regions on each picture, and then consulting older photographs of Pluto and paying attention to previously overlooked fuzzy regions in them, James Christy provided a precise calculation of Charon’s orbit around Pluto.

Observation and Objectivity Q13

Which of the following experimental cases is NOT evidence that observation is theory-laden?

A

Previous exposure to an unambiguous picture of an old woman or a young woman has drastic effects on the perception of an ambiguous picture of a woman.

B

Some perceptual illusions, such as the Muller-Lyre figure, remain even when we know that they are illusions.

C

Compared to people who hypothesize that objects fall at the same rate regardless of their weight, people who hypothesize that heavier balls fall faster than light ones are more likely to report that heavier balls fall faster than light ones.

D

Showing people a series of pictures from a conceptual class (e.g., animals) causes dramatic shifts in how participants perceive ambiguous man/rat figures.

Observation and Objectivity Q14

Which of the following is NOT an example of a directly observable and intersubjectively ascertainable fact about physical objects?

A

A change of skin color

B

The taste of a substance

C

The clicking of an amplifier connected to a Geiger counter

D

The coincidence of an instrument pointer with a number on a marked dial

Observation and Objectivity Q15

Which of the following responses scientists make when they obtain data that conflicts with their theories is NOT evidence that scientists treat data in a theory-laden manner?

A

Accepting the data

B

Holding the data in abeyance

C

Ignoring the data

D

Reinterpreting the data

Observation and Objectivity Q16

In response to the then-prevailing phenomenological account of observation, Carl Hempel proposed that observation sentences in science describe

A

perceptions, sensations, and other phenomena of immediate experience.

B

objects of perception.

C

directly observable and intersubjectively ascertainable facts about physical objects.

D

the way observers interpret their immediate experiences.

Observation and Objectivity Q17

According to Bayesianism, if a piece of evidence is very UNLIKELY to occur, but the posterior probability of some hypothesis relative to that evidence is greater than the prior probability of the hypothesis, then

A

the evidence provides a small amount of confirmation for the hypothesis.

B

the evidence provides a large amount of confirmation for the hypothesis.

C

the evidence provides no confirmation for the hypothesis.

D

the evidence disconfirms the hypothesis.

Observation and Objectivity Q18

According to Falsificationism, if a piece of evidence is very UNLIKELY to occur, but the posterior probability of some hypothesis relative to that evidence is greater than the prior probability of the hypothesis, then

A

the evidence provides a small amount of confirmation for the hypothesis.

B

the evidence provides a large amount of confirmation for the hypothesis.

C

the evidence provides no confirmation for the hypothesis.

D

the evidence disconfirms the hypothesis.

Observation and Objectivity Q19

According to the Bayesian account of confirmation, when does a piece of evidence confirm a hypothesis?

A

When there is a good inductive inference from the evidence to the hypothesis

B

When the evidence is the outcome of a severe test and the hypothesis passes the test

C

When the evidence is the outcome of a crucial experiment and the experiment does not falsify the hypothesis

D

When the conditional probability of the hypothesis given the evidence is greater than the prior probability of the hypothesis

Observation and Objectivity Q20

According to the causal account of explanation, an explanation provides information about

A

the natural laws that govern some phenomenon.

B

the causal history that led to some phenomenon.

C

connections between phenomena.

D

the entities and activities that produce some phenomenon.

Observation and Objectivity Q21

According to the error-statistical account of confirmation, when does a piece of evidence confirm a hypothesis?

A

When there is a good inductive inference from the evidence to the hypothesis

B

When the evidence is the outcome of a severe test and the hypothesis passes the test

C

When the evidence is the outcome of a crucial experiment and the experiment does not falsify the hypothesis

D

When the conditional probability of the hypothesis given the evidence is greater than the prior probability of the hypothesis

Observation and Objectivity Q22

According to the mechanistic account of explanation, an explanation provides information about

A

the natural laws that govern some phenomenon.

B

the causal history that led to some phenomenon.

C

connections between phenomena.

D

the entities and activities that produce some phenomenon.

Observation and Objectivity Q23

According to the nomological account of explanation, an explanation provides information about

A

the natural laws that govern some phenomenon.

B

the causal history that led to some phenomenon.

C

connections between phenomena.

D

the entities and activities that produce some phenomenon.

Observation and Objectivity Q24

According to the unification account of explanation, an explanation provides information about

A

the natural laws that govern some phenomenon.

B

the causal history that led to some phenomenon.

C

connections between phenomena.

D

the entities and activities that produce some phenomenon.

Observation and Objectivity Q25

Consider the following explanation of why neurotransmitters bind to receptor proteins in postsynaptic cells: “After the presynaptic neurons depolarize, calcium ions rush into the presynaptic neurons; then a series of chemical reactions transports vesicles of neurotransmitter to the membrane of the neurons. When the neurotransmitter is released into the synaptic cleft, it diffuses across the cleft and then binds to receptor proteins in postsynaptic cells.” To which account of explanation does this explanation best conform?

A

Causal account

B

Mechanistic account

C

Nomological account

D

Unification account